Last weekend, I headed out to Charlotte, NC, to attend their third annual BarCamp, held at the Area15 startup incubator space. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and fellow travelers showed up to talk about a huge range of topics, including:
- Low-budget filmmaking
- EcoBox sustainable housing
- Introduction to therapeutic massage
- Hacking wireless networks
- Civics 101
The first talk I was able to attend was Jeremy Olson's discussion about promoting iPhone apps. Olson was speaking about his experience developing and marketing Grades, a tool for helping students (and their parents) keep track of their grades every semester. Grades has had plenty of buzz in the iPhone development community and has even been featured in the App Store on a few occasions. Olson walked us through how he was able to garner so much attention. Key takeaway: Don't be shy.
In the second session, I gave a talk about developing mobile web applications. I made a couple of brief mentions of Yahoo!'s own Blueprint framework for creating mobile websites, but I focused mainly on more general questions about what makes a good mobile site. I'm really excited about mobile development, and it was awesome to see that a lot of other people are too.
After lunch (Carolina BBQ, of course), I gave another presentation that was a high-level overview of what's new in HTML5 web development. This was entirely off the cuff, since I had only pitched it due to some requests I had gotten during the first presentation. Still, there were a fair number of good questions about the new hotness in client-side databases and Websockets. One takeaway I had from this discussion is that folks are really wary of the security aspects of these emerging tools.
In the last session, I saw Jim van Fleet go meta by talking about building the BarCamp Charlotte scheduling app in Ruby on Rails and deploying it to Heroku. Ruby is awesome, and so is Jim van Fleet, so this was a fun way to wrap up the day.
The whole day was pretty great. My only regret is that I spent half of it presenting, and didn't get to see what other folks were doing. Make no mistake: there are loads of smart, talented people outside the Silicon Valley bubble, and I was thrilled to meet a bunch of them last weekend. As a bonus, they're all extremely nice.
Let me wrap up by saying again what an amazing time I had and thank the BarCamp Charlotte organizers and attendees for being so hospitable.
By Matt Henry (@greenideas), Frontend Engineer, Yahoo! Mobile